Padres sign four Top 30 international prospects

Credit: MiLB

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Credit: Padres

The San Diego Padres have added to their fantastic farm system as they have signed four young players off the international market on Tuesday.

One of the strongest farm systems in baseball just got a little bit stronger.

After splurging on international prospects in 2016, the San Diego Padres once again dipped into the international trade markets to sign four of MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 International Prospects.

So far, the Padres will be spending at least $4 million on the four signings. This includes $2 million for outfield prospect Ismael Mena (#15 on Pipeline), $700K on right-handed pitcher Brayan Medina (#19 on Pipeline), and $1.3 million on shortstop Reginald Preciado (#22 on Pipeline). It is still unknown how much left-handed pitcher Luis Gutierrez (#29 on Pipeline) signed for.

The 16-year-old Mena has been praised for his above-average defense and plus speed. This combination of skills could put him in center field while hitting at the top of the lineup. His aptitude for barreling balls gives him the potential for average slightly above average power in the future while his speed gives him the potential for 15-20 stolen bases per year. Mena still has room to grow in his 6’3″, 185 lb frame as he gets older. His major league comparison is Gregory Polanco.

The 16-year-old Medina hails from Valencia, Venezuela and has been called one of the best pitching prospect out of Venezuela. His best pitch is easily his fastball which has topped out at 97 MPH. His command of the pitch is great while he gets considerable sink on the pitch. Medina also throws a changeup and slider that are still developing but, if he improves on them, they could make for an impressive three-pitch arsenal for the 6’2″ Venezuelan.

The switch-hitting Preciado is considered one of the best prospects this year to come out of Panama. His calling card is his slick defense, with his quick first step, smooth footwork, and strong arm all culminating in his prowess with the glove. Preciado shows flashes of potential from both sides of the plate thanks to superb bat speed. He will get time to develop in the minor leagues due to the high amount of shortstop prospects in the San Diego system.

The youngest of the players signed by the Padres is Gutierez, a 15-year-old left-handed pitcher out of Venezuela who will not be turning 16 until the end of July. His arsenal includes a fastball that sits at 87-90 MPH, a 12-6 curveball that could become plus with future tinkering, and a changeup that sits in the low 80’s that, while it does get a little firm at times, has good cutting action. He repeats his mechanics well. A high strike thrower, Gutierez will be an intriguing prospect to keep an eye on due to his boundless potential.

There is still time for the Padres to make some signings and the money will be there. With multiple players beginning to transition to the upper levels of the minors and even the Major Leagues, AJ Preller is doing what he does best to restock the lower levels of the farm system with talent.

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